NHL Free Agency: Mathieu Perreault, Blackhawks A Fit?

Perreault

On Monday afternoon, the Anaheim Ducks may have made a player available that could be an intriguing name for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Mathieu Perreault did not receive a qualifying offer from Anaheim, and could become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday.

As TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported, the Ducks did make the young forward a contract offer that could keep him in Anaheim. But Perreault, 26, may have become the odd man out after Anaheim acquired centers Ryan Kesler and Nate Thompson in two trades over the weekend.

Could he be an option for the Blackhawks as a short-term addition?

He certainly wouldn’t be the physically imposing player that a Joe Thornton would be. And the former sixth round pick of the Washington Capitals doesn’t bring the acclaim of a Kesler or the offensive resume of a Jason Spezza.

Last season, Perreault scored 18 goals and added 25 assists in 68 games for the Ducks. He was also credited with 73 hits, 15 blocked shots and 19 takeaways while averaging 13:52 per night. The 2013-14 season was the final year of a two-year contract with a $1.05M cap hit for Perreault, who won 52.6 percent of his faceoffs and had nine power play points on the season.

Listed at 5-10 and 175 pounds, Perreault averaged more than two minutes per game on the ice with a man advantage for the 22nd-ranked Anaheim power play. He added three goals and three assists in six playoff games this spring.

Perreault may have enough offensive potential to provide the Blackhawks with a bandaid at center on their second line until Teuvo Teravainen is ready (assuming he isn’t in October). His work in Anaheim suggests he could be a productive member of the Hawks’ bottom six rotation as well, and would give coach Joel Quenneville a veteran he could rely on for special teams minutes as well.

The Hawks continue searching for a second line center, with Kesler heading to Anaheim and Paul Stastny likely too expensive (in dollars and years) for Chicago as they try to get both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane locked-up long-term. With the 2014-15 salary cap coming in at $69M, the Hawks are one of a number of teams looking to shed some weight for breathing room beneath the lower-than-anticipated cap ceiling.

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32 Responses to NHL Free Agency: Mathieu Perreault, Blackhawks A Fit?

  1. NJ Dave says:

    So who leaves to make room…While on the cap topic: if you look at the Hawks roster vs the cap, there are very few bad deals. Versteeg is a waste of $2.2m, and then you could argue that Crawford, Seabrook, and Brickell are slightly overpaid. But everyone else is signed at a very reasonable cap number. So kudos to Stan & Co for getting this team out of 2010 cap hell and actually making it a strength of the organization.

  2. Tab Bamford says:

    I still believe the Hawks will work to move a defenseman (likely Oduya) in the coming 10-14 days.

  3. Sr. Brad says:

    Now of all the scenarios you have proposed, I actually like this one the best. When he was drafted, he was just another skinny French kid that scored a Bajillion points in Jr. hockey…but he took being a pro seriously and worked on his body, especially his lower half, so that now he’s about 190 lbs and is impossible to take off the puck because he’s built so strong, low to the ground. I would prefer this signing over others because: (1) we could sign him for as long as WE want (conceivably) at a reasonable Cap hit, (2) although he has a smaller frame Perrault actually plays an aggressive, physical, speed game, and is dangerous on the forecheck, so he fits into our style of play very well, (3) he has the skill to try out as the 2nd line Centre, but he also has the grit to take a bottom 6 assignment as well, and (4) he has a history, all the way back to minor hockey, off being good in the playoffs, plus he has always been a + player EVEN IN WASHINGTON, which isn’t easy to do, when almost everyone else on the team is in the -20′s…and how about this, he has ALWAYS been an above 50% F/O winner…consistently.

    To be honest, I am not so sure the Hawks would want to give this player up after just one season, if he could be signed to an attractive Cap hit. The ONE THING about Perrault is that because he plays such a physical game, his smaller, but strong frame takes a beating and he has missed a bunch of games over his career…in 2 and 1/2 NHL seasons he hasn’t had a healthy season yet.

    But, he’s a really good player…he’s like the energizer bunny when he gets on the ice and gives his all every shift. As Tab said, it doesn’t make us bigger down the middle, but if we win F/O’s more consistently, the Kings would have to try and catch us…so I would say a resounding yes…it takes the pressure off of TT to HAVE TO start for us this season, or have to play Centre. And with Toews, Shaw, Perrault, Kruger, Smith and TT we certainly would have a TON of options at the Centre position…plus we would be able to keep Sharp on the roster.

  4. souL says:

    Tab, I agree it’s likely Oduya, but with possible signability issues for Nick Leddy, do you think his upside could offer a better return than that of Oduya? If both are around for only 1 year, I would choose Oduya.

  5. souL says:

    @sr brad: are you discounting Rasmussen as a contributor already?

  6. Sr. Brad says:

    Yes, we actually HAVE to move Oduya…not only because of his Cap hit, but his resistance to the aggressive forecheck is dwindling as well, plus we have 3 DMen to matriculate UP over the next 12-15 months…and that’s NOT including TVR, Trevor Van Riemsdyke…and remember, TVR just finished his career at NHU with incredible offensive #s for a DMan, plus he has the size (6’2″ 190), the speed, and the bloodlines to be a big league player.

  7. Sr. Brad says:

    Soul, I don’t know because I know very little about Moose. He certainly is intriguing, and Bowman astutely signed him to a 2 way deal…if Moose has a great camp, he and Nordstrom would be fighting for that 12th forward spot.

  8. AJ says:

    depth signing

    would be good with some vernon fiddler action

    so those two plus a very friendly deal for Richards and the salary dump of Oduya and I think they could round out the rest of the line up with kids

    Richards cant be worse than Zeus and gives a chance to bring T2 along a bit more gradually with significantly less pressure.

  9. souL says:

    I do like our d prospects. I do, however, think Oduya is better than any of those options and he is better than Leddy. Simply put, given that Leddy might not fit into the plans past next year, is it both more profitable in terms of return and for this year’s roster to move him instead of Oduya?

  10. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I don’t like Perreault in the context of our NEED. I don’t Bowman does either. I’m really starting to think that the Hawks let Teuvo very seriously compete for a Center spot at camp, and ditto Danault. The “insurance policy” will be Rasmussen, and possibly (gulp) Smith.

    On the trade front? I’m actually of the belief that Leddy is on the move and not Oduya. And perhaps Leddy brings back a decent Center at a lesser pricetag than what Leddy makes?!? We can debate until the cows come home the smarts of trading Leddy…I’m not placing a value judgment on such a move, just suggesting that I think it is Leddy who is in play right now. Oduya is a good hockey player who still produces, and whose contract goes away after one more year. Rosival being traded isn’t going to happen…not sure why people keep mentioning that as even an option.

  11. wall says:

    Tab, If you recall – I begged for the Hawks (before Ducks nabbed him) to take a serious look at this guy… He is a cross between Kopecki and Kruger w/ way better hands/shot like Smith… quick, agitator type, with nose and speed to PU lots of lose change and scores… wins face-offs… will actually hit people… only down side is- size…
    but I loved him and thought the Hawks should have tried to get him before…

    6 points in 6 playoff games… not shabby… and Ducks don’t want him???
    Must want too much?

  12. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Ducks don’t want him in the context that they have Getzlaff and Kesler in the middle, plus Perreault is frequently not 100%. I’m very meh on this guy. I’d rather take my chances with Kruger at 2nd line Center if Perreault is the option. If we are going to compound the cap dilemma, its got to be for something more intriguing than this.

    Leddy gets traded for a Center. A cheapish Center with upside. So net-net the Hawks add to the Center position, address the cap situation and open a spot for Clendening. Then Oduya goes bye-bye after next season and another spot and more cap dollars are freed up. To do things like afford Toews, Kane and Saad.

  13. Sr. Brad says:

    Oduya is not better than our prospect options…he is aging, he shies away from the big bangers, and has a moderately big Cap hit…Dahlbeck can replace him with an overall improvement at the spot by season’s end…and our prospects must move up…their isn’t the room for everyone with TVR being signed.

    Sorry Rufus, Danault isn’t ready.

    Wall, Perrault had 18 goals in 69 games averaging 12 five on five minutes per game. He was also a big part of their PP, averaging over 2 minutes a game and netted 4 goals there.

  14. Sr. Brad says:

    AJ, the last thing we need is Vernon Fiddler…old and slow…too many painful memories…Perrault wins more at the dot, skates like the wind, and can actually hit someone…Fiddler misses a lot of checks because he’s slow getting there. Remember what the essence of the Hawks is…SPEED and SKILL…Perrault also adds physicality and a forecheck.

  15. morrison says:

    Leddy for Nielsen.

  16. EbonyRaptor says:

    I would have no problem with Perreault. While he doesn’t bring size, he does win faceoffs, skates well and is an energizer bunny type of player. His cap hit last season was $1.05M and if he can be acquired for around that amount I say go get him.

    10-19-81
    20-Perreault-88
    29-16-65
    23-28-11

  17. Ernie says:

    I had this thought when I saw Anaheim wasn’t going to qualify him. All I can say is, I wish he was bigger. And I wish he was a right handed shot. Right handed shooting center men are a pain to find. He seems to do alright on draws though.He might come cheap enough to be a fit. I’m sure other teams are having that same thought.

    Spezza, Perrault, Richards, Thornton, Legwand, Jussi and Olli Jokinen. Plenty of centers to go around right?

  18. Mike the Mook says:

    Sadly Hawks don’t need “mediocre” in talent and size. Hawks will get worn down in the playoffs again if they don’t get some size and scoring skill for the power play and someone who can “consistently” win BIG FACE OFFS when needed. Spezzzzzzza is a better fit, Kesler was it , too bad. Long summer!

  19. hawkey says:

    i agree w Sr Brad. We need to move a veteran D to make room for the development of our younger D. Leddy is either ready for top 4 spot or he should be traded. Leddy has gotten all the time he gets at 3rd pairing, protected by a vet. That spot on the 3rd pair now belongs to a Dalbach or a Johns or a Clendening. And I don’t mind Brookbank as that 3rd pair partner. Wouldn’t bother me to see them move either Leddy or Oduya, AND Rozy.

    D for 2014/15 should look like:
    Dunc
    Seabs
    Hammer
    One of Oduya/Leddy
    One of Dalbach/Johns/Clendening
    #6 D is a $1.0-$1.5m vet
    #7 – not sure, probably a $1m vet, maybe Runblad, maybe another of our youngsters.

  20. Dave smith says:

    You know what Tab..Oduya`s contract comes off the books after this coming year so a trade would be virtually worthless to our cap issues. I think the contracts in play are the ones that extend past this coming year due to Kane/toews/Saad and Kruger etc FA statuses. Besides Oduya is a bridge for one of Clendening/Johns/Dahlbeck etc. There is a built in 2.5 million cap number savings after next year right here

    If you combine a contract such as Versteeg paired with Oduya in trade then we will have almost 6 mill in cap space but we will still be a 2nd line center and a top 4 def deficient assuming we deal them for picks or prospects.

    I dont think Leddy is up to the next step up yet if at all and 6 million wont get us that 2nd line center and top 4 def in return…just my opinion

    versteeg` contract is not terrible at 2.2 and im confident he will bounce back next year.

  21. ZebraGreg says:

    With the cap topping off at $69M there’s no chance for Spezza abd the number he’s at. I wasn’t all that sold on him in the first place and the cap settles that. I do like what I read about this Perreault kid. He sounds intriguing.

    Let’s see what Jr. does,..

  22. ZebraGreg says:

    Anyone, how many days until training camp?

  23. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Leddy is going to be traded to free up cap dollars and open a spot for one of the youngsters. Runblad will become the 7th dman. Oduya and Rosy leave as free agents next summer, opening up two more spots. The money unlocked plays to signing Kane, Toews and Saad. That’s how I see this thing breaking.

  24. MS says:

    From out here in LA, Perreault has a lot of skill but he was beaten up pretty bad in the playoffs. He’s a tough kid but I don’t think he can physically handle the workload of a 2c, including a long run in the playoffs.

  25. Mike says:

    If Perreault is not physically ready to handle the workload of 2C, how can we think that TT is ready at this point?

    I agree that Oduya is on the trade block before Leddy. The reason is simply the pairing scenarios. Let Leddy and you will have Rosival anchoring the 3d pairing?? God I hope that is not the case. Trade Oduya, putting a rookie with Hammer does not scare me a bit. That would put a little more pressure on Kieth and Sebs, but hey, they are our marquis Dmen.

    2 / 7
    4 / Clendening, Runblad
    8 / Rosy, Clendening, Johns whoever

    Not that I’d not trade Rosy too, but as I have opined, who is going to want him?? Might get a 4th or 5th round pick for him from a team needing to make floor.

  26. Sr. Brad says:

    That’s a great point Mike and it is someone speculating that isn’t the player or an NHL GM. As I have said, Perrault would be a great signing because he can be our 2nd line Centre, or if Shaw is that guy, then he could easily be our 3rd line centre…and he’s very strong, like Shaw…they are both a lot alike. These are good players to have. With Perrault being signed, we don’t need to make any big trades or break apart the core…you keep the consistency, increase our speed and forecheck, and make us a lot deeper at Centre…we would have Toews, Perrault, Shaw, Kruger, Smith and TT that all could play centre…there are a LOT of positives to this move…

    Remember everyone, there is a PRICE to pay for trading/signing the likes of Stastny and Spezza.

  27. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Exactly the type of player the Hawks have in their system, small, fast and skilled. I’m starting to think I am the only person who wants the Hawks to get a little bit bigger too. LA and STL are bigger teams. Outside of Bickell and Seabrook the Hawks don’t have any big physical players.

    @ Morrison I’m with you on Leddy for Frans Neilson. Frans is 6’1 is under contract for another 2 seasons @ 3 million a season. He had a breakout season last year and the Islander are loaded with centers so its questionable if they would even pay him when his contract runs out.

  28. Mining Man says:

    Spezza to Dallas Stars….whats left for us now?…Moore?, Richards?

  29. Mike says:

    Western Conference keeps getting stronger.

  30. Gou says:

    Another big contract and impact player of the table for now. Would’ve he helped , yes, but at a cost.
    As stated by someone a few days back Sharp was our 2C in 2010. As Sr. Brad stated, sign Perrault and for the most part the pieces are really there. With him between Kane and Sharp, there is flexibility along with TT.
    No major disruption and get some of the kids up that deserve a shot at the next level to fill the few gaps. SB will get the signings done and dish middle of the road to clear space. We will lose nothing that can’t be replaced from Rockford.
    This year will not be another 2011,12 experiment. It will be a bona fide run for the cup again.
    Mike, you are correct. It is either that or become Chicago of the early 2000′s.

  31. Bob Waters says:

    We need Thornton’s size and toughness. None of the other options give us what he does. We need less fast and skilled- we have plenty of that- and more big and tough. If there’s anything the Kings showed us, it’s the need to be able to intimidate a little.

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